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Chinese club sign Obafemi Martins to replace Manchester United loanee Ighalo

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The 35-year-old striker joins the Chinese super League team on a free transfer after extending his compatriot’s loan agreement at old Trafford.

Shanghai Shenhua has completed the signing of former inter Milan and Nigeria striker Obafemi Martins, who returns for a second stint after playing for the Chinese super League team between 2016 and 2018, according to Goal.

The 35-year-old striker returns to the team as a replacement for compatriot Odion Igalo, whose loan contract with Manchester United has been extended until 2021.

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On Wednesday, Martins shared a video of himself on Instagram wearing a Shenhua kit with the rest of the team, and a source close to the player confirmed to Goal that he was re-signed in a playing capacity.

Having left Seattle Sounders in 2015, Martins scored 32 goals in 59 games across all competitions for the Chinese heavyweights, while playing a key role in the Hongkou Football Stadium giants’ Chinese FA Cup success in 2017.
However, he left the Shanghai-based team in 2018 after suffering a hamstring injury, and has been without a club ever since.

Ighalo was loaned to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Red Devils on a temporary loan deal on the final day of the January transfer window as a replacement for injured Marcus Rashford.

Having impressed in his eight appearances before lockdown and the subsequent postponement of football – scoring four goals in three starts – the club extended his loan until January 2021.

Martins’ return will strengthen Choi Kang-hee men’s attack ahead of the resumption of the Chinese Super League.

The former Super Eagles striker recently told Goal that retirement was not on his agenda despite being without a club since leaving Shanghai in 2018.

“After my career-threatening injury in China, many people advised me to quit, but I told myself I still have a lot to offer the beautiful game,” he told Goal. “Football is my life; I eat, drink and sleep football so I don’t see any reason to call time on something that makes me happy.

“I’m 34, but I feel like a teenager, and with this sensation, I can still play for any big team across the world. I’m thankful for what I have achieved in football but I thirst for more.

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“That desire is still there, the desire to score more goals and win more titles. For my next move, I have got offers from the United States, China and Saudi Arabia but I will only move when I see the right bargain.”

After featuring for Reggiana and Inter Milan in Italy, Martins joined Newcastle United in 2006 and helped them win the Intertoto Cup in the same season.

He also represented Wolfsburg, Rubin Kazan, Birmingham City and Levante before moving to Seattle Sounders in 2016.

In international football, Martins scored on his Nigeria debut in May 2004, against the Republic of Ireland, and ended his Super Eagles career with 18 goals from 42 appearances.

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